"I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled." (KJV)
It's not mandatory. Not everyone chooses to do the Daniel Fast, for health reasons or any other reasons. Some may not even consider it a fast at all, but a change in diet. Some believe fasting is giving up a meal a day for several days, or that fasting is not eating or drinking anything at all but water for several days. It's up to the individual. There is a book written by Susan Gregory on the Daniel Fast. It's called The Daniel Fast: Feed Your Soul, Strengthen Your Spirit, and Renew Your Body. If you're interested in learning more about the Daniel Fast, check it out from your local library.
Although my church does the Daniel Fast every January it is not the only time we fast. An individual can choose to fast at any time they feel the need to throughout the year. It is the only time of the year we fast together, corporately, some do the Daniel Fast; or the Samuel Fast; or the Elijah Fast; or the Widow's Fast; or the Paul Fast; or the John the Baptist Fast; or the Esther Fast. Each fast is for different reasons. It depends on what you are seeking in your relationship with the Lord. I believe it is entirely up to the individual.
Last year, I didn't do the Daniel Fast. I would just skip lunch every day for twenty-one days and during that time I usually ate lunch I spent that time in prayer and Bible reading. I was blessed just the same. If one is healthy enough to fast, I recommend fasting. There are spiritual benefits to fasting. Fasting can bring spiritual power. It is where you focus more on your spiritual hunger and not the physical hunger. Our ears and eyes are focused on God. One can read about the different fasts in the book Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough: A Guide to Nine Biblical Fasts by Elmer L. Towns.
Will you join me in fasting for 21 days? Is there something you are seeking from God? Are you seeking a closer relationship to the Lord? We can see how we are spiritually come the 24th and how we have been blessed. I look forward to spiritual growth.